Nicco Montaño, first women's flyweight champion, released by UFC

The UFC's first-ever women's flyweight champion is no longer with the promotion.

Nicco Montaño was released by the UFC this week, officials confirmed with ESPN on Wednesday. The decision comes on the heels of Montaño missing weight last Friday by 7 pounds, forcing the cancellation of her scheduled fight with Wu Yanan on the UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Strickland card in Las Vegas.

Montaño (4-3) has had a difficult time just getting in the Octagon the past several years. The New Mexico resident, who fights out of Las Vegas, won the inaugural UFC women's flyweight title by beating Roxanne Modafferi in December 2017. Montaño, 32, was stripped of the belt in September 2018 after she was hospitalized cutting weight for a scheduled title defense against Valentina Shevchenko and the fight was scrapped. Montaño has not fought since losing to Julianna Peña in July 2019 in a bantamweight bout.

Over the past 18 months, Montaño has had six fights canceled for various reasons, including weight issues, injury and COVID-19. Montaño's bout with Yanan was contracted for 135 pounds, up from the 125 pounds she was competing at earlier in her UFC career. Montaño weighed in at 143 pounds Friday, 7 pounds over the 136-pound nontitle limit at bantamweight.

"I was dedicated through camp to this fight, training four hours a day, including my fasted 4-5 mile runs and unfortunately after years of cutting hard [m]y metabolic system is not catching up with what efforts I've been putting in," Montaño wrote in an Instagram post Friday after the weigh-in. "So I've been eating less for my workout sessions, training up until I had to come to the quarantine bubble and had to start my cut pretty high.

"I have done this cut before but unfortunately it just didn't work out this time around."